While the final round of the season is often associated with dramatic events, this one fell short in this regard. With Napoli already crowned champions, the three other Champions League spots already booked and Juve’s legal troubles hanging a cloud of certainty over the Europa League and Conference league battle, the relegation dogfight between Spezia and Verona was the best bet for some good old-fashioned last-matchday drama. But even this one couldn’t deliver a definitive result, with the two clubs now set to meet in a playoff after sharing the same point tally. Yet, this final weekend still had its moments including some stupendous goals, so let’s recap some of the action in the Tops and Flops of Serie A Round 38.
Top (Player): Teun Koopmeiners
While several players shone bright this weekend, (including the likes of Luis Alberto and Rafael Leao), none of them stood a chance against Teun Koopmeiners who cemented himself as the undisputed king for the final round.
The Dutch midfielder torched Monza in a supreme display that saw him score a hattrick (including a jaw-dropping strike which we’ll get to later) in addition to an assist.
Thanks to his efforts, Atalanta won the match 5-2 and secured their spot in the next edition of the Europa League.
Flop (Player): Kelvin Amian
This might be a harsh mention, but Kelvin Amian’s challenge on Stephan El-Shaarawy cost Spezia their most valuable point in Serie A. The wingback gifted Roma a late spot-kick while earning himself a second booking that rendered the comeback almost impossible.
The Frenchman could have avoided the foul since he had a teammate by his side, but his blunder resulted in a thrilling relegation playoff against Verona next weekend which he’ll miss after receiving his marching orders.
Top (Coach): Vincenzo Italiano
For the second weekend in a row, Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Italiano earns the recognition. Despite having a much-anticipated European final on Wednesday, the Italian boss made sure that his men were fully focused on their final league fixture, as they emerged victorious in a 3-1 win over Sassuolo in Round 38 to place themselves eighth in the Serie A standings.
This victory could be worth a spot in Europe for the second season in a row if Juventus were to receive a ban from UEFA. While the Viola will try to secure their place in the Europa League when they clash heads against West Ham in the Conference League final, it doesn’t hurt to have a fallback option.
Flop (Coach): Salvatore Bocchetti
In earnest, Salvatore Bocchetti has been doing a wonderful job since taking charge at Verona alongside Marco Zaffaroni, but he should have avoided a sent-off against Milan at all costs.
The former defender will now miss his side’s most important match of the season, that is the relegation playoff against Spezia.
Top (Team): Cremonese
Now this is a club that deserves major plaudits. Despite failing to maintain their spot in Serie A for another season, Cremonese made the most out of their time in Italy’s top flight, leaving it all on the pitch week in week out.
Even in their final appearance, the Tigers refused to succumb to despair. Instead, they produced a sublime display against Salernitana and earned a well-deserved 2-0 victory while dominating the action.
The Grigiorossi will surely be missed next season.
Flop (Team): Sassuolo
This season, Sassuolo had their highs and lows, but it’s hard to justify the tense display they produced against Fiorentina in their last home appearance, one that saw two of their players sent off in a 1-3 defeat at the hands of their visitors.
This was supposed to be a farewell evening where the Neroverdi salute their supporters with an entertaining showing, but instead, their campaign ended on a sour note.
Top (Goalkeeper): Samir Handanovic and Alex Cordaz
In what was likely his last appearance for Inter, Samir Handanovic delivered one final splendid display between the sticks. The legendary captain will leave the club once his contract expires at the end of the season.
But that’s not all, Simone Inzaghi opted to hand 40-year-old Alex Corday a rare opportunity in the final stretch against Torino, and the veteran also maintained the Nerazzurri’s clean sheet with a miraculous save.
Top (Super-Sub): Giovanni Simeone
In the presence of Victor Osimhen, Giovanni Simeone had to settle for a second-fiddle role this season. But the Argentine proved once again that his introduction can pay dividends by scoring a fabulous goal against Sampdoria.
Top (Farewell): Zlatan Ibrahimovic
While the phrase “End of an era” has become abusively overused, it hardly does justice when it comes to the farewell of one of the most iconic footballers in the 21st century.
Thankfully, Milan gave Zlatan Ibrahimovic the kind of send-off reserved for the true legends of the sport, while the rest of the world sent its love and appreciation to the giant Swede.
Flop (Fans): Roma
Truth be told, Anthony Taylor didn’t produce his sharpest display when officiating the Europa League final between Roma and Sevilla. However, the despicable behavior of a section of Roma supporters over the past few days has been both cringey and shameful.
After showering the English referee and his family with abuse and insults in an airport altercation, the Giallorossi fans were at it again on Sunday, displaying offensive banners against their new public enemy number one.
José Mourinho and his “special” ways are to blame for fueling the crowds’ anger and directing all of the frustration towards Taylor who has been portrayed as the ultimate scapegoat.
Top (Goal): Teun Koopmeiners
This round had at least three or four stunning strikes, but Koopmeiners’ effort from the middle of the park has to win the day, albeit we’re not even sure whether it was intentional or not.
Top (Moment): Napoli Crowned
Well, after a long and exhausting Serie A campaign and 38 editions of the Tops and Flops, it’s only fitting to round it off with the ultimate best moment of the campaign, which is obviously Napoli’s Scudetto ceremony.
Before the first kick-off, none of us believed that the Partenopei stood a chance in the title race after parting ways with Lorenzo Insigne, Dries Mertens, Fabian Ruiz and Kalidou Koulibaly, so let’s appreciate Luciano Spalletti and his band of brave players who achieved the unthinkable and defied the Northern giants en route towards securing the club’s first Scudetto title in the post-Maradona era.
Well done, fellas!
|Follow us on Google News for more updates on Serie A and Italian football